Monday, 15 October 2018

Airds Hill


14 October 2018
 
Participants: Just me
Where: Airds Hill, 181m/594', P 158m, OS 49, NM 926 458
 
I had been at the MBA AGM and Committee meeting at Roybridge, the meeting finished early just as the sun came out after a couple of days of non-stop rain so I decided on a short diversion on the way home to climb Airds Hill, my first new Marilyn since June. I had avoided this one up to now as it was a tree covered horror, however, the forestry had cleared the lot and it was apparently not too bad even with a lot of brash lying around. I parked off the Appin road at the start of a good zigzag track up and this took me about 50% of the way up the hill. After that it was a case of following whatever logging tracks that I could find  although there were some grassy patches as well. It was wet underfoot after all the rain but the going was not too bad, I've seen much worse brash. Already the views were opening out and the atmosphere was very clear as it usually is after rain.  Looking down on Castle Stalker with the Glen Galmadale horseshoe in the background across Loch Linnhe.....
 
 
 A grassy patch as I neared the summit.....
 
 
For me, it was Castle Stalker that dominated the view, an amazing place to build a fortified house.....
 
 
There was a lot of brash lying about the summit area and it was impossible to pinpoint the highest point, it was not, however the trig which was at the western end of the summit area. Looking across the loch to the Kingairloch hills with the Glensanda super quarry on the left.....
 
 
You can see the trig in these pictures with the Isle of Lismore beyond and the hills of Mull beyond that.....

 


 As always in this sort of area, it is the seascapes and islands that draw my eye, however, Airds Hill is also a fine viewpoint for the hills to the west of Etive. Now that the forest is gone, I can recommend this hill for a short walk, better if there has been no rain of course!

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Knock Hill

6 October 2018
 
Participants: Just me
Where: Knock Hill, 364m/1194', P 112m, HuMP, OS 58, NT 053937
 
The weather had remained nice so I decided to take advantage and do another hill. I had passed and seen Knock Hill in Fife on many occasions but never ventured up, time to rectify that.....
 
 
No problems parking for this one, there is a large area of ground outside the Knockhill racing circuit and from there, a track goes all the way to the communication masts on the summit. Trials for a motor cycle event were taking place and the noise followed me all the way up the hill. There was a good view down on the circuit from the summit area though......
 
 
As I had expected, it was an excellent viewpoint. This is looking to the Ochil Hills with the Wallace Monument outside Stirling in the distance and on the horizon, just visible, Ben Lomond.....
 
 
The neighbouring HuMP to the west, Saline Hill looks much nicer- it doesn't have all the ariels and huts on top. One to do on another day........ 
 
 
As is the forested hill to the north, Wether Hill, now that I've seen that it is free of trees on top.....
 
 

Friday, 5 October 2018

Dunrod Hill

5 October 2018
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Dunrod Hill, 298m/978', P 81m, TuMP, OS 63, NS 240 726
 
Back to Clyde Muirshiel Country Park, but to the much nicer western part. The hills here are much nicer than the swampy variety further east and there is a good network of lochs and reservoirs. This is a view of Dunrod Hill across Loch Thom.....
 
 
I drove to Cornalees Bridge Information Centre where there is a big car park; the path to Dunrod Hill starts from the top of that. There was a style over the fence and I had wondered if Ben would manage to get over that but he was fine. The path up the hill gave me a choice, a very steep straight up or a zig-zag across the hillside, I chose the latter. Ben on the way up.....
 
 
There were sheep about so Ben was on his lead part of the time. Dunrod Hill is twin topped with only 1m of difference between the tops; we went to the higher top first, the one with the trig, The masts in the background are on Scroggy Bank, another TuMP which I plan to do from its north side.....
 
 
It was a fine viewpoint, Arran to the west, the hills of the Southern Highlands across the Clyde.....
 
 

 
We returned the same way but visited the minor top on the way. Ben at the cairn and being careful to keep me in sight.....
 
 
 
There is a fine view of the reservoirs from here.....
 
 
and to complete the day, I drove round the reservoirs, stopping a few times on the way. A very nice trip.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

East Lothian TuMPS, Pencraig Hill, Barney Hill, Skid Hill, Gullane Hill

28 September 2018
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Pencraig Hill, 109m/358', P 46m, TuMP, OS 67, NT 572 766; Barney Hill, 181m/594', P 33, TuMP, OS 66, NT 514 760; Skid Hill, 186m/610', P 98, OS 66, NT 507 764; Gullane Hill, 69m/226', P42, TuMP, OS 66, NT 475 827
 
An early autumn trip to East Lothian is always worthwhile, the weather tends to be better than in the west and the views can be spectacular. I had worked out a route that would take in a few non-strenuous TuMPS plus a visit to the beach so that Ben could have a run about. First stop was a few miles west of East Linton at a lay-by at the foot of an old quarry and a wooded area- Pencraig Hill. There was a woodland walk which was a bit overgrown but it didn't matter as the highest point was only a few minutes from the car, it's here somewhere.....
 
 
 
There was also a viewpoint looking north to the Firth of Forth, North Berwick Law and the Bass Rock, in fact the only place on the hill where you really got a view of anything. The colours of the fields were nice.....
 
Back to the car and it was only a short journey to the next two hills, Barney Hill and Skid Hill which the map said were part of the Garleston Hills. The road over to Aberlady took most of the work out of them and I parked just past the high point for Barney Hill. There were cows in the field for this one but they stayed well out of the way. The highest point appeared to be just to the east of one of the ariels and again there was a fine view of the Firth. The view south, to the Moorfoot hills was good also but I was looking directly into the sun so no photographs. 
 
 
 
There was a fine view of my next objective, Skid Hill from here, along with Byres Hill and the Hope Monument which we visited last year.....
 
 
I shifted the car to a parking area at the foot of Skid Hill, which was really only half a hill, as a quarry had removed a lot of it. The quarry was no longer being worked. This was a steep one and there was a narrow bit at the top of a small gully which led to a flat summit area and a trig. Fine views though.
 
 


The final hill of the day was at Gullane. I parked at the pay and display car park at the beach and walked up the hill past some very grand and no doubt expensive houses. The hill had a topograph and a seat and was right on the edge of the golf course, which was busy.....
 
 
We sat here for a bit before making our way down to the beach for a walk along the sands. There are some magnificent beaches on this stretch of coastline and at this time of year there was hardly anyone about.
 
A relaxing day out.
 

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Inchcolm Island

24 September 2018
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Inchcolm Island, 34m/112', P34m, TuMP/SIB, OS 65/66, NT 1`87824
 
A visit to Inchcolm had been on my radar for a long time. Somewhere else that I'd never been to while I lived in Edinburgh. Spring, summer and early autumn were ruled out because there is a large gull colony on the island and a visit to the high point is a bit fraught. I also needed really clear weather as the views are something special. Everything came together at last- and I also found out that dogs were permitted, although the lead had to stay on.
 
Inchcolm is named after St Colm and the monastery there was established in the 1100s as an Augustinian priory becoming an abbey in 1235. Buildings were added and altered over time and the conflict between Scotland and England reached even this small island. After the Reformation, the site passed to the Earls of Moray. The island entered a new chapter with military use during WW1 and WW2. A large number of fortresses were built, the defences have been largely demolished but the foundations remain. So there was a lot to see during our 90 minutes ashore.
 
The Maid of the Forth is based at South Queensferry beside the Forth rail bridge.....
 
 
There was a good view back to the bridge shortly after passing under it.....
 
 
The on board commentary was excellent, describing all the points of interest as we passed them. This is a tug stationed beside the oil terminal at Braefoot Bay.....
 
 
and this is the terminal itself.....
 
 
Inchcolm coming into view.....
 
 
The Maid of the Forth at Inchcolm.....
 
 
Walking towards the abbey.....
 
 
 
We had a look round the abbey, it's remarkably complete and would justify a visit on its own and then headed for the highest point on the island.....


For such a low lying summit, the view was amazing. Looking towards the Forth bridges.....


A view back to the abbey with the eastern "hill" beyond. This is where most of the fortifications are.....
 
The visitor centre and the eastern hill.....


The eastern hill provides the classic view of the abbey.....


and a view down the Firth with the Isle of May on the horizon.....


The sun was in the wrong place to get good photographs south to Edinburgh and the Pentlands but by using some trees as cover I managed to get this one of the city with Arthurs Seat and the Castle prominent.....


On the way back, we detoured under the three bridges, what amazing structures. Despite the smooth, modern look of the most recent, the Queensferry crossing, in my eyes it is still the original rail bridge that is the most impressive.....


 


I can highly recommend this trip, three hours worth of interest and unusual views of familiar places.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

The Heddles (Muirshiel Country Park): Duncarnock and Dyke Hill (Neilston); Creag an Eoin (Balmaha), Dumbowie (Dumbarton)

20 August 2018
 
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: The Heddles, 304m/997', P33m, TuMP, OS 63, NS 315 646
 
August is a month in which I can summon up little interest in hillwalking. It is usually damp and humid and not at all nice for walking. After a brilliant May- July, August reverted to type. However, the temperature had dropped a bit so I decided to chance it and headed for Muirshiel Country Park and The Heddles, a TuMP that I had omitted at a previous visit earlier in the year. It was pretty nondescript, just a bump in the moor.....
 
 
There was a good if wet track most of the way. However, when I left it to cross the moor, I was reminded about another reason why I avoid August, clouds of flies. Still, it was only a short walk and the views from the top were OK, here's Ben admiring the view.....
 
 
22 August 2018

Participants: Just me
Where: Duncarnock, 204m/669', P39m, TuMP, OS 64, NS 502 560 and Dyke Hill, 211m/692', P37m, TuMP, OS 64, NS 489 560
 
Duncarnock (locally "The Craigie") is a striking volcanic plug topped by a Fort which was probably occupied between 1200 BC and AD 400 and perhaps reused until around AD 700. There was space for a couple of cars at the start of the Glanderston Mains track which I followed to Glanderston Dam. Duncarnock from the Dam.....
 
 
I crossed the top of the dam wall, briefly went into a field containing cattle (the reason Ben wasn't with me) then took a very steep path up the side of the nose of the hill. It required some hands on scrambling higher up and brought me out at the trig. It was a very fine viewpoint with Glasgow and Paisley to the north and a glimpse of the higher hills beyond.....
 
 

 
I found another path for the way down which dropped to the east of the hill and then circled it to arrive back with the cows.
 
I then drove about a mile to a parking spot at the east side of Dyke Hill. It was just a bump in a field. This is Dyke Hill from Walton Dam.....
 
 
There were cows at the top.....
 
 
The view to Glasgow.....
 
 
7 September 2018
Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Creag an Eoin, 100m/328', P 41m, TuMP, OS 56, NS 420912
 
Creag an Eoin overlooks the car park at Balmaha and is accessed from there.....
 
 
It is a steep wee hill but fortunately there is a path (don't know why) that zig-zags up the hill and takes the worst out of the steepness. The highest point is clear of trees so there is a view of Loch Lomond and the hills beyond.....
 



We followed the hill with a walk to the westerly Balmaha pier and then a forest walk so it was a pleasant short day trip. Lots of tourists about.

22 September 2018

Participants: Just me
Where: Dumbowie, 158m/518', P 42m, TuMP, OS 64, NS 422 752

There are a number of TuMPS above Dumbarton but at least one is the rim of a quarry. Dumbowie looked on the map as if it might be the best of the group so I drove to the Overtoun House car park which was just north of the hill. This is a view of it from Loch Bowie on the way to the car park.....


It looks like a nice country park and I must come back some time to try out some of the walks. Today however was just the hill and I followed tracks to its north before following another track through fields which led to an electricity pole disguised as a tree. There didn't look to be a way up through the gorse from there so I carried on round to the south side of the hill and ascended from there. There was a path of sorts, found on the way down.

It was a nice pointy summit.....


with views of Dumbarton castle and the Clyde.....


of the Long Crags.....


and a nice view down to Loch Bowie.....


A good wee hill but better in the winter time I would think when the gorse has died back!